Jeremy Arkin grew up in the suburbs outside of Chicago before moving to Boulder, Colorado where he received a bachelor’s degree in EBIO (Evolutionary Biology and Ecology) and Geography. Aside from normal coursework, his first professional experience in forestry was the completion of his honors thesis under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Veblen where he analyzed the upper montane tree regeneration following the 2002 Hayman Fire. After graduation he worked as a Forestry and GIS Technician for Boulder County Parks & Open Space as well Colorado Parks & Wildlife where he was able to gain insight on how to properly manage land in accordance with the very best methods and research available.
These experiences helped him to explore what kind of research he wanted to complete in graduate school as well as what kind of career he wanted to pursue afterwards, both of which he hopes will facilitate the coalescence of sound science and land management. His research with the IRSS will allow him to work closely with a Vancouver-based remote sensing company to analyze and develop the applications of drones within forestry, which will be used to inform land management and forestry operations.
Growing up in an outdoorsy family in the outdoorsy little city of Nelson, BC, Bethany had little choice but to fall in love with lakes, rivers, mountains, and forests. She loves exploring and discovering more about the intricacies and beauty of the natural world, which she considers God’s Masterpiece. She decided that a career in wildlife/conservation sounded like a good excuse to spend more time in and learning about nature, and has so far enjoyed her summers working in environmental consulting. After graduating high school Bethany moved to the Big City of Kelowna, BC, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Biology. Now she is excited to up the ante again with her graduate studies at the IRSS lab where she will be building models of grizzly bear response to roads. She’s a bit wary of all the people and a campus six times the population of her home town, but locals encourage her that there are many places to escape. Bethany looks forward to spending her time growing to love Vancouver by experiencing the hiking, biking, kayaking, and maybe even some culture. When she needs to hole up and introvert for a while Bethany enjoys reading, walks in the woods, and singing while she pretends to play guitar.
Ethan Berman’s upbringing between New Delhi, India and Cambridge, Massachusetts has led to his split personality as an adventurous vagabond and inquisitive academic. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2012 with a BA in Mathematics, he spent the better part of four years as a Princeton in Asia Fellow working with local communities in Thailand. He has worn many hats, including being a math teacher, IT technician, and experiential and environmental educator. Ethan’s first-hand exposure to environmental challenges in Southeast Asia and fascination with maps as a tool for sustainable management fueled him back across the Pacific to pursue an MSc as part of the IRSS. A little bit tired of the tropics, his research is focused on the complexities of mapping snow in forested and mountain environments and the effect of different snow variables on threatened wildlife populations.
You’re equally likely to find him plugging away in the lab as you are to find him slogging up to a cold mountain summit.
Francois du Toit
Francois du Toit was born in Pretoria, South Africa, and moved to Vienna, Austria aged 9. After stumbling across a UBC recruitment meeting and consequently being impressed by both the university’s academic standing and sporting proficiency, he decided that Vancouver looked like a great place to be.
Francois undertook a B.Sc. in Geology and played Varsity Rugby for the Thunderbirds, and it was during this time that he got his first taste of GIS and its potential for use in both geology and geography. After graduation, Francois spent some time working in Vancouver before finding a job with a geological exploration company in the Northwest Territories. The creation of the MGEM program drew Francois back to UBC as he looked to expand his skill set and learn more about remote sensing. The experience ultimately led him to the IRSS lab where he will be pursuing a PhD related to very high point density LiDAR and tree modelling.
Tristan Goodbody was born in the wild, cow-wrangling city of Calgary, Alberta. He grew up an expat in Ecuador, Malaysia, and Scotland prior to his admission to the UBC Faculty of Forestry in 2010. His involvement in the co-op program there afforded him hands-on experience working in the forest industry with West Fraser Timber Ltd. in Chetwynd, BC, and in research based forestry operations with the Alex Fraser Research Forest in Williams Lake, BC. Tristan graduated with a BSc in Natural Resources Conservation in 2015 and decided that he was not yet prepared for the real world.
Tristan’s research with the IRSS will use drone-captured imagery and semi-global matching to predict residual timber volumes following selective harvesting, to gauge stand regeneration success, and to map the extent and perimeter of local fires in the Alex Fraser Research Forest. In his spare time, Tristan can be found with his dog, Kyra, or anywhere there is good food.
Alex Graham was born and raised in North Vancouver, BC and is an alumni of the UBC Varsity Baseball Program and graduate of a Bachelor of Arts in Geography – Environment and Sustainability (2016). Alex enjoys pushing his aptitude for spatial analysis by continuously exploring new GIS software with passion for open-source. His more recent experiences include completion of the BCIT GIS Advanced Diploma program, preceded by a work-learn position in the IRSS.
Alex is motivated to be proficient in open-source GIS application design and deployment to take advantage of the growing demand for automated, low-cost GIS solutions. In his upcoming MSc studies, Alex intends to examine programmatic methods and flight parameters for building forest and terrain models derived from UAV photos and their subsequent photogrammetric point clouds in varying forest and terrain conditions. As hobbies, Alex enjoys skiing, playing guitar and writing code for side projects.
Samuel Grubinger is from the Green Mountains of Vermont, where he grew up playing in the woods, hanging out on small farms, and poring through atlases. He studied Environmental Sciences and Geography at the University of Vermont, where he got hooked on GIS and held a job in the Spatial Analysis Lab digitizing land cover in between classes. Through field courses in Vermont and travels abroad, he became fascinated with how humans shape natural landscapes.
After his BS, he moved to Berkeley, California, where he worked as a technician on the Marin Carbon Project, got excited about carbon sequestration, and spent a lot of time with grad students. Most recently, he has been living in Panama as an intern at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, mapping tree canopy changes from drone imagery and collecting field data on Barro Colorado Island. He is also a potter, photographer, language nerd, and plant dad.
Sam grew up between the fens of eastern England and the dry climes of Northern California. Sam fled, at the age of 18, to the countryside of Wales to complete an undergraduate degree in Ecology at Bangor University. While in university, he took a year out to research the anthropogenic influences on tropical orchids in China. After graduating, Sam spent a short time researching dragonflies in Ugandan caldera lakes before starting a forestry internship in eastern Oregon for the US Bureau of Land Management and the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Sam is interested in using remote sensing and machine learning to improve our abilities to collect ecological data and inform public decisions.
Sam once crashed an electric scooter into a greenhouse proving that a low carbon footprint is not always best for the environment.
Annie is a recent graduate of the Masters of Geomatics for Environmental Management Program at UBC, and before that she graduated from the University of Alberta (in her home town of Edmonton) with bachelor degrees in Ecology and Animal Biology. Annie has spent the last few summers working in Alberta as a Wildlife Biologist primarily conducting bird surveys and nest sweeps for industry. Over the winters she has worked as a Wildlife Management Technician mediating wildlife human conflict at the Vancouver Airport. In her free time, Annie likes to ski, hike and generally be outside… or in a coffee shop!
Annie started in the IRSS because she wished to build on the knowledge she gained through her masters studies, and feels that there is potential for geospatial analysis to play a role in understanding conservation ecology issues, hopefully reducing the human impact on wild spaces. As a research assistant, Annie will be using Digital Aerial Photogrammetry to assess forest regeneration and will link this with the regeneration survey practices currently employed in Alberta.
Lukas was born and raised in Ajax Ontario, a suburb just outside of Toronto. He grew up playing hockey and baseball and remains a faithful Toronto Maple Leaf and Blue Jays Fan. He spent summers during high school with family on Haida Gwaii and eventually got sick of the Ontario winters and permenantly moved to BC to attend UBC. Lukas is pursuing a B.Sc in Natural Resource Conservation within the faculty of forestry. He is interested in exploring the applications of remotely sensed data for use in traditional forest management. Lukas is also a distance runner for the UBC track team. He enjoys running, hiking and doughnuts in his free time.
Nick Leach is a dyed-in-the-wool Pacific Northwest local. Born and raised in the Seattle area, Nick originally came to Vancouver in 2011 for his BSc in Physics and Astronomy, where he studied planetary astrophysics. After dabbling in different jobs– including working at a particle accelerator and a private medical devices lab– he eventually fell in love with satellite remote sensing and image processing. His research at IRSS will explore possibilities for using high-resolution commercial satellite data to quickly identify and understand forest disturbances.
Outside of the lab, Nick is a trail and ultrarunning junkie. He’s always looking for new ways to play outdoors, whether it’s running, climbing, scrambling, surfing, or just crawling into his trusty sleeping bag. He has also been known to pluck a tune on the banjo and has a lot of opinions about board games.
Shangrong Lin grew up in Guangzhou, a major city in Southern China known for its Cantonese culture. He obtained a BSc in geographical information system in South China Normal University, and then he moved to Beijing, the capital of China, to pursue his Master’s and PhD in the Institute of Remote sensing and digital earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences. After spending three years on his PhD in Beijing, Shangrong moved to UBC to work on a one-year research project at IRSS. His research at IRSS will explore the relationship between tower-based reflectance and canopy photosynthesis, which expands on the work of his idol, Thomas Hilker. Now his research interest is using ground-based instruments, such as radiometer, to understand the dynamics of carbon flux in forest ecosystems and developing new methods to estimate large-scale gross primary productivity with satellite data.
During his spare time, Shangrong loves swimming, hiking, and playing soccer. He enjoys travelling and wants to experience a different lifestyle in Canada.
Cam grew up just outside of small town Hinton, Alberta. Having spent most of his young life exploring the backcountry of the Wilmore Wilderness Park on horse back he knew he wanted to pursue a career in wildlife research and conservation. After completing his BSc in Environmental Earth Sciences at the University of Alberta he was able to realize this goal with the fRI Research Grizzly Bear Program. Cam spent four summers and a one year internship with the program working on projects ranging from population dynamics to predation. When not working with the fRI Cam split his time between travelling and ski bumming.
Wishing to expand his knowledge base, Cam will be working with the IRSS lab as an MSc candidate. He will be assessing how habitat availability influences space-time patterns of movement and survival of grizzly bears at fine spatial and temporal scales as well as differentiating movement patterns associated with different levels of landscape connectivity.
Zoltan Mityok’s life thus far can be summed up with one word: adaptation! Born in Calgary, AB and raised in a Hungarian household, his misadventures include growing up periodically in Europe, teaching English in Honduras, obtaining a B.Sc. in Natural Resources Conservation at UBC, and taking every opportunity to work through co-op internships in Wyoming, USA, interior BC and the Discovery Islands. Diverse work experiences called for as much adaptation as traveling: forestry engineering and reconnaissance, GIS mapping of the USDA’s Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, and helping to establish a newly licensed community forest via ecological assessments, mapping, and liaising with community and board members.
From these varied cultural and professional experiences, Zoltan has adapted and incorporated a medley of ideologies, values and beliefs into his work and sense of purpose. Life has helped to distil his broad interests into GIS and remote sensing; the application of such technologies to answering questions about our world and the biotic-abiotic interactions influencing humanity’s decisions and quality of life. Zoltan is thrilled to begin adapting to his new life as an MSc candidate, and will be modelling snow dynamics and its influence on wildlife behavior within the St’át’imc territory using sensor, field, and radio-telemetry data.
Chris was born in Illinois and raised in Texas, where he lived for 13 years. Following years of camping and too much running, Chris developed his passion for the outdoors and dreamed of moving west and living in the woods to learn more about the complicated ecosystems that only existed in pictures. Having finally been cooked to a medium rare in the sweltering Texas heat, Chris left to begin studying at the University of Oregon, where he would go on to earn a BSc in Environmental Science. There, Chris explored his interests in forest biology and geospatial technologies, eventually landing an undergraduate research assistantship under Dr. Chris Bone, investigating topics such as Mountain Pine Beetles, socioeconomic measures of poverty, US Forest Service supply chains, and forest treatments in the American West. Chris’s MSc research at UBC is part of the AWARE program and will examine the ability of ALS LiDAR to assess product mix in forest stands. He hopes to use this information to inform the decisions of forest managers and timber companies in order to improve the health and sustainability of forest resources.
Chris looks forward to life in Vancouver which includes lots of running, camping, eating, and pretending to understand hockey.
Rik grew up in a small town in the southwestern part of the Netherlands, surrounded by greenhouses, trees, water, and flatness. After graduating high school he moved to the charming and lively city of Utrecht where he completed an undergraduate degree in Human Geography and Spatial Planning and started the Masters of Geographical Information Management and Applications (GIMA). He used his studies to find his interests and create his own path. During his masters he found that research in Remote Sensing within the scope of agriculture, ecology and forestry is his major interest.
He has always had the ambition of exploring the world beyond the borders of the Netherlands. Natural landscapes and outdoor possibilities lured him to BC. He is very happy and excited about that everything falls into place now while being in Vancouver and IRSS. Rik’s research is in the use of Digital Aerial Photogrammetry and LiDAR for deriving forest and tree attributes. In his spare time, Rik is exploring new hikes, trying new Canadian beers, food, and sports.
Brandon is originally from California but he moved to Texas as soon as he could. Raised in Dallas, he graduated secondary school in 2008 and started school at Texas A&M University. He joined the US Army after 3 semesters, serving as a light infantryman with the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, New York. From 2011-2012 he deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in support of NATO International Security Assistance Forces. After leaving the Army, he returned to Texas A&M where he graduated with a double major in Spatial Sciences and Forestry. After an internship analyzing satellite imagery with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, his interests in remote sensing and geospatial technologies were confirmed, leading him to the IRSS at UBC.
Brandon enjoys international travel with his wife Christina, but on a typical night you’ll find him doing some online gaming. His research at the IRSS will use LiDAR to analyze the impacts of changes in forest structure on grizzly bear movement and survival.
Martin grew up in the French Alps, spending most of his time hiking and skiing in the mountains. His desire to learn more about his environment lead him to study Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland), where he received a Bsc and Msc. During the last six months of his Masters degree, he worked on his thesis as a Visiting International Research Student at UBC, combining topographic shading modeling with spatial interpolation of shortwave solar radiation for snowmelt modeling.
Martin developed a strong interest in spatial analysis and the use of remote sensing for environmental monitoring. Thrilled about his experience at UBC, he decided to come back and join the IRSS as a PhD student. His research will focus on the use of Single Photon Lidar for forest inventories. He will also combine Lidar and Landsat data to quantify the impacts of wildfires in BC.
Joe was born in the Franglais-speaking city of Montreal, QC. Running to the window to watch lightning storms from his room, he was certain from the age of 10 that he would become a weather forecaster. Demoralized by the physics requirements for atmospheric science, he instead decided to pursue his life-long fascination with maps. In 2015, Joe earned his BSc in Environment from McGill University. In his last year and subsequent gap year, he carried out research with Professor Jeffrey Cardille using Landsat 8 to estimate concentrations of coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in lakes of the Abitibi region of Quebec. He also used the optical data to categorize the area’s lakes in order to improve CDOM estimations from Landsat 5 and 7. Ultimately, inspired by the grandeur and aesthetic beauty of trees, Joe sought a project that would combine forestry and cartography. And so, Joe found his way to the IRSS lab to pursue his master’s. As a team member of AWARE, his research assesses the utility of LiDAR for the measurement of tree height-growth near Slave Lake, AB.
Lukas grew up in a village in Austria, not far from Vienna. He occasionally helped his father with managing the family forest. He spent countless hours walking through the woods, marking trees, planting trees, erecting fences and crunching numbers for the tax office. During this time he first came into contact with remote sensing when he used aerial photographs to delineate land use maps in order for his father to receive Common Agricultural Policy subsidies. He attended mechanical engineering school for five years and then served his country as an ambulance technician for nine months. After that he left for the Netherlands to pursue a BSc in Aerospace Engineering. During this he spent a semester doing a minor in forestry at UBC. It was there that he re-discovered his passion for forestry and as the Netherlands were way to flat for a mountain boy like him anyways, he decided to return and join the IRSS.
During his master’s he will look into biomass quantification, change detection, camouflaged vehicle detection and/or species identification using multispectral optical and synthetic aperture radar images from Urthecast’s satellites. In his free time, Lukas spends as much time as possible in the North Shore Mountains with the Varsity Outdoor Club. He especially likes ski touring and hiking but he is open to try many new things.
Left alone as child in the dark woods of Northern Lower Michigan and forced to orienteer his way out, it was only a matter of time before Max Yancho found his calling as a forester. Max is the son a forester, and was raised under the towering sand cliffs and the dense northern hardwood forests of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. He graduated from Michigan State University in the Summer of 2013 with a B.S. in Forestry, concentrating in Forest Conservation and Environmental Studies. While at MSU, Max participated in many different research projects including the development of genetically modified poplar for biofuels, emerald ash borer firewood sterilization, and commercial Christmas tree production. Since graduation, Max has worked in Northern Lower Michigan as a district forester, educating the public about the realities of timber and land management, as well as a professional consulting forester, assisting private landowners in the scientific and ethical management of their forests. Max maintains the credentials of Candidate Certified Forester with the Society of American Foresters. Attending graduate school has been a long-time goal of Max’s, with his motivation to join the IRSS Lab stemming from his experiences in the Michigan forest products industry. Max is currently pursuing his M.Sc. degree. He is working closely with a local Vancouver remote sensing company to further develop UAV technologies and improve their integration into forest management.
Max is an avid outdoorsman, enjoying camping, hunting, hiking, and fishing alongside his wonderful wife of 2 years, Sarah. Max and his wife are kept busy with their two dogs. The couple also enjoys traveling, coffee, good beer, and great food.
Hola! I am a deep learning work-learn student at IRSS. I got introduced to the field of data science while interning for a big e-commerce firm in 2015, and looking at the propensity at which data was generated and then used to make business decisions, made me realize that data is the new economy.
I am doing my Masters in Data Science at the University of British Columbia. Prior to this, I was working as a Data Scientist at a healthcare analytics firm and my job was to improve the quality of care for the patients in US healthcare. I am interested in the potential of Blockchain Technology, Deep Reinforcement Learning, and Machine Learning and I am constantly learning about these technologies and open to discussions on the same!
I feel IRSS has lots of interesting deep learning challenges and I am interested in answering them in this academic year.
Maegan Poblacion is currently in her final year of her BSc. in Environmental Sciences, with a focus in the Land Air Water concentration. During her undergraduate studies, she also took part in the Science Co-op program where she got to embark on new and exciting opportunities. Her first summer work term involved working with a small start up in testing the effectiveness of UAVs as a pest deterrence over blueberry crops, followed by another field-based work term with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre. Her last and most recent co-op work term was with Teck Coal Ltd. in Hinton, AB, where she became well acquainted with regulatory work and directly involved with upgrading the site’s Environmental Management System (EMS).
Maegan is now working with the IRSS as a WorkLearn student, and is looking forward to applying her past coursework in a real world setting.